PKR info chief ramps up attack on Azmin’s group, labels them ‘anti-democrats’

Kenneth Tee And Radzi Razak
Datuk Seri Shamsul Iskandar Md Akin speaks during the 2019 PKR National Congress at MITC in Melaka December 8, 2019. — Picture by Ahmad Zamzahuri

AYER KEROH, Dec 8 — A senior PKR leader called deputy president Datuk Seri Azmin Ali and those loyal to him “anti-democrats”, after they snubbed the final day of the party’s national congress.

Addressing delegates, PKR information chief Datuk Seri Shamsul Iskandar Md Akin said the party’s leadership had been too soft, which had allowed anarchy to fester and take hold of the party.

He said PKR president Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s openness had been abused while his readiness to accommodate opposing views was taken advantage of by those pursuing their personal agendas.

“Stern action must be taken against these ‘anti-democrats’ so that PKR will remain a party for democrats who understand and respect democratic principles!

“Do the delegates agree?” Shamsul repeated thrice to work up attendees who responded emphatically during his winding-up speech at the Melaka International Trade Centre here.

Datuk Seri Azmin Ali’s empty seat (beside Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail) on the last day of the 2019 PKR National Congress in Melaka December 8, 2019. — Picture by Ahmad Zamzahuri

Shamsul further suggested that these “anti-democrats” appeared not to see — intentionally or otherwise — that their actions not only threatened the Pakatan Harapan coalition’s integrity but also the country’s political stability.

“We must remember, there is a very thin line, a narrow corridor that can transform democratic practices into anarchy or autocracy,” he said.

He said as democrats who uphold democratic principles, PKR members must understand democracy is not the tyranny of the majority.

“Democracy also means having the ability to accept different opinions. Democracy does not allow us to force our will on others.

“It is a form of camaraderie and preparedness to respect the leadership’s decision and to compromise.

“If we are not prepared to do so, do not call yourselves a democrat,” he said.

PKR deputy president Datuk Seri Azmin Ali makes his entrance cycling a trishaw with PKR vice presidents Zuraida Kamaruddin and Chua Tian Chang seated in the passenger seat December 5, 2019. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

In his winding-up speech, Shamsul Iskandar also told the tale of Utimurtiraja, a rich businessman and Javanese mercenary commander who betrayed the Melaka Sultanate by siding with the Portuguese and was subsequently beheaded in 1511.

This appeared to be pointed a callback to Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s use yesterday of the “Si Kitol” character from the Malay Annals to suggest treachery in the party; the reference appeared to upset Azmin and his faction.

Aside from Azmin, other notable absentees include vice president Zuraida Kamaruddin, Wanita PKR chief Haniza Talha, and Ali Biju who are also scheduled to address delegates today.

The uneasy truce between factions openly aligned to Azmin and Anwar crumbled yesterday after the latter began making less-than-subtle attacks on those in the former.

Delegates walk out from main hall during the 2019 PKR National Congress at MITC in Melaka December 7, 2019. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

This prompted Azmin’s group to stage a walkout in apparent protest yesterday afternoon and to announce the resumption of a previously abandoned event in Kuala Lumpur to rival the PKR congress this evening.

Anwar previously said any leaders who attend the rival event would be sacked.

However, Azmin’s group denied it is a rival event and painted it as an “appreciation dinner” for the “Shared Prosperity Vision”.

The “Shared Prosperity Vision” is presented as Bersatu chairman and Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s brainchild.

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